In Tziscao the roosters have formed a chorus. One rooster crows "I´m a big bad rooster," and another rooster across the way responds, "I´m a bigger and badder rooster." Then a rooster down the road interjects, "well I'm the biggest and baddest rooster there ever was." It continues like this. If you are under the impression that roosters crow only at sunrise, let us remedy that now--they crow all day...and all night...even when I plead with them to shut up at 3 am. In Tziscao camping at on the lake with access to bathrooms and showers at the ecotourist lodge cost 80 pesos (USD 8). Camping down the road in someone´s back yard with the same services cost 30 pesos. In Tziscao vegetarian food at the comedor with the sign that reads: Hay Comida Vegetariana--Vegetariant Foods" means they serve cheese quesadillas.
In Frontera Corozal my hatred for perspiration is reaffirmed. I sleep with a sweat band around my wrist to more easily catch the drip, drop, drip of sweat from my nose in the middle of the night. I normally don´t use bug spray--its bad for the body and for the environment and it smells bad and makes you sticky--but in Corozal the mosquito bites (for which I normally have great tolerance) leave welts. I reapply the OFF every two hours. As I fall asleep in my tent I listen to the squeaks of animals that resemble rats but live in the trees above. I hope that the hundreds of wolf spiders I saw while pitching my tent don´t find their way inside. I tell myself that I was made for the mountains.
In Yaxchilán I can see Guatemala across the River. I feel like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. I´m alone on remote jungle paths to Mayan ruins deep in the Lacandona Jungle. Above me are family groups of howler monkeys lazily strewn about branches of tall and sacred Ceiba trees. The males are screaming at each other. My Angelina Jolie fantasy continues until I get a face full of spider web and see the biggest spiders I´ve ever had the misfortune of seeing. I continue, but walk cautiously, waving a stick in circular motions in front of me in order to avoid attempted spider attacks. Now I just feel nelly.
In Palenque the ruins are spectacular (if considerably more crowded with tourists than Yaxchlán), but it is so stifling that I worry about heat stroke. I decide not to take the tour to the waterfalls of Agua Azul and the swimming hole of Misol-Ha--there are waterfalls in Argentina (big ones) and a swimming pool at the campgrounds, I tell myself. The US$15 I save by not taking the tour allows me to splurge on a large lunch at the restaurant rather than the cookies and tortillas I would have eaten otherwise. I suck on a fudgesicle for desert, and I am happy. I lounge at the pool for as long as I can tolerate the heat. I liberally apply sun-block but worry it doesn´t soak in, because I´m sweating profusely. It´s useless anyways as the sun is so strong it doesn´t tan before it burns, it just jumps directly to the latter.
After I skip Agua Azul and Misol-Ha, I skip Ocosingo and Toniná. I also skip Bonampak, in my hurry to get to Cancún (what are a few skipped ruins? I ask myself. They´ve survived 1,000 years. They´ll survive until my next visit (assuming I survive for my next visit)). I tell myself that my willingless to leave Chiapas early and thus decrease my chances of running into Subcomandante Marcos, my beloved Zapatista rebel leader, is evidence of travelling for too long of a stretch.
I sit in the bus station waiting, reading Cuba In Mind. I think to myself that it´s possibly the most appropriately titled book of all time. In Cancún I will rest. I will prepare. I will buy a skimpy bathing suit with the money I saved by skipping the waterfalls, the sinkhole, the ruins, and the other ruins. I´m excited to arrive in Buenos Aires on October 7th. But I have one small stop--one giant stop-- before I get there. When I get to Cancún, I´ll visit the bookstore and buy another book about Cuba, because it´s still on my mind. It´s all I can think about.
As Marcos says, vale and salud. As I say, much love and many besos.
p.s. I am sad that my low tolerance for jungle heat and jungle sweat and jungle bugs means that I can not live happily ever after with Subcomandante Marcos. Perhaps he will consider a vacation home some place more agreeable to my sensibilities and keep me as his mistress there.